Opening Barcelona Fossil of the Day Award

2 November 2009

fossil of the day

Barcelona, Spain, November 2, 2009: Two Fossil of the Day Awards were presented this evening at the UN climate talks in Barcelona, to those countries who were judged – by vote of the global Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) to have performed ‘best’ at blocking progress in the negotiations.

As government delegates and observers from the negotiations looked on, young climate activists announced the winners. Much like the Oscars, the awards are kept secret until a colourful presentation ceremony, adding some life to the otherwise bureaucratic UN conference.  The winners names are passed to the host in a sealed envelope before being announced before a large crowd of spectators.

1st place was awarded to Denmark – the host of the crucial Copenhagen climate summit this December. Denmark received the award for promoting the concept of a “politically binding” deal in Copenhagen as a possible alternative to a “legally binding” framework agreement.

“Instead of showing leadership, Denmark’s Prime Minister, Lars LÆkke Rasmussen is spreading confusion and insecurity,” said Tove Ryding of Danish Greenpeace. “Rasmussen is providing fuel for the many governments attempting to downplay expectations for a legally binding framework agreement coming out of Copenhagen.”

“The concept of a ‘politically binding’ deal is simply not adequate when the threat of climate change is so urgent. As the host of the Copenhagen summit, Denmark should be supporting a legally binding outcome this December, which would be the real win for our climate.”

Canada received the second-place Fossil of the Day award for its environment minister’s statement that it would be “irresponsible” for Canada to meet a -25% emission reduction target by 2020 – below the latest scientific recommendations.

The minister’s comments were in response to an economic modeling study that showed that Canada can significantly reduce emissions while maintaining healthy economic growth. The study found that real reductions would reduce Canada’s annual growth rate in the short term from 2.4 % to 2.1% annually.

Dale Marshall of the David Suzuki Foundation stated that “for the minister, apparently this is too much to invest in avoiding dangerous climate change and the economic damage that goes with it.”

“The minister was particularly worried about the economic impact on the oil industry in his home-province of Alberta, but the study actually showed that Alberta would still be the country’s fastest growing province.”

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